Serendipity Soup

A community of people talking about their brushes with success, failure, hard work and pure dumb luck.

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  • 19. Matt Georges

    This month it’s a very special episode of Serendipity Soup because, although I haven’t completely decided yet, I think this is probably going to be the last one. It’s possible I will take a break and come back with a second series, but right now that’s not the plan, so how to round off the Serendipity Soup story neatly?  Well, when I floated the idea of ending the podcast in the previous episode, several listeners suggested the idea of me giving my story as the final episode so I asked my editor Anna if she would interview me and she agreed. You may disagree once you listen but I’d say there’s two themes to this one. The first is the idea of having respect for the stories that people tell me and how difficult it is to make sure that I do justice to something so personal. It’s shown me what a skill really good quality journalism is. Second, I think the podcast itself rather neatly sums up the very idea I’ve been wrestling with: what is success? I recently read that Dick Fuld the disgraced head of Lehman Brothers – the bank whose collapse nearly took down the entire global financial system in 2008 – once publicly shredded the tie of the second best trader in the bank, saying essentially that “second place is first loser”.  This is the key message of the celebrity success industry, so in podcast audience terms I should probably have my entire suit, socks, pants and probably my house shredded. After all, if a podcast can only be deemed a success when it has the highest listener numbers then everyone other than Joe Rogan might as well just pack up and go home. Obviously they don’t, which shows there’s more to it than that and so I talk a fair bit with Anna about how successful or otherwise I think Serendipity Soup has been. Huge thanks to all of you who’ve listened to the podcast and got in touch to say how much you enjoyed it. I really appreciate your support. Here are the links for this episode:Joe Rogan - Buxton - and Owl - George ‘True North’ -

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  • 18. Andrew Finlay

    Welcome to Serendipity Soup! The antidote to celebrity success podcasts.This month's guest is Andrew Finlay, the owner of Wildview Retreat (, an amazing wellness centre set in the middle of the hills of southern Portugal. He’s a nutritional therapist and has, at various times also been a dive master, environmental consultant and head of environmental protection for the Marshall Islands. Andrew readily admits that he has a strong need to feel that he’s doing something worthwhile with his life but that following this desire, often without thinking about the consequences, has given him both extreme highs and worrying lows. He’s a very forward-looking person. Someone who feels that life’s too short to put up with situations that don’t make you happy and that if you want to feel good about yourself you should always be ready to move onto the next chapter in your life. As you’d expect I challenge him – hopefully fairly gently! – on that. At one level it makes sense, but when is enough enough? When does making a fresh start tip into giving up because things have got a bit tricky? I think it’s fair to say that Andrew isn’t into giving up when things get tricky. You don’t buy an abandoned hilltop village in Portugal and turn it into a fully functioning retreat complete with running water and electricity if you quit at the first sign of trouble. But Andrew’s reflections on the cost of being this driven are fascinating.
  • 17. Camilla Waterman

    Welcome to Serendipity Soup! The antidote to celebrity success podcasts.A lot of my guests define success in work as finding something that makes you happy. But this month’s guest, Camilla Waterman, added a really useful twist. Success is finding something that makes you happy at the time you’re doing it. The thing I envy about Camilla is her positive attitude to change. Just because a job makes her happy when she starts, doesn’t mean it will always make her happy. She seems so comfortable recognising when that point has been reached and then simply acting to improve the situation by moving on. In that respect she’s a lot like my guest in episode 2, Nicole Shamier, who was very comfortable recognising that at some point she wouldn’t be the right person for the dream job she was in at the time. Only two links this month. The first is to the brilliant BBC documentary ‘The Edge’, which is available on BBC Iplayer here: The second is a last minute addition as I re-listened to Camilla's episode, which is the Wikipedia entry for the classical Greek legend of Cassandra:
  • 16. Jo Bradshaw

    Welcome to Serendipity Soup! The antidote to celebrity success podcasts.Who are the champions of your life? The people who are there at just the right time, with just the right support, to supercharge your life and take you to whatever your next level is. This month my guest on Serendipity Soup is Jo Bradshaw: an outdoor instructor, mountain climbing expedition leader, public speaker and leadership coach. I learned a lot from my conversation with Jo, but I was particularly taken by two things she talks about. The first is the importance of every single person to the successful functioning of the teams she leads. The second is this concept of ‘champions of your life’. Jo mentions several of these people as she talks and I hope you’ve been lucky enough to have had some champions of your life too. Here are links to some of the things we talk about:Breaking The Fever S2-04 I Power dynamics in the office - with Laetita Vitaud: Tuckman’s ‘forming–storming–norming–performing’ model of group development: Dweck and the ‘growth’ mindset: UK: Nolan: – Improving children’s mental health: Duke of Edinburgh’s awards: Expeditions: Adventure:
  • 15. Zaid Ansari

    Welcome to Serendipity Soup! The antidote to celebrity success podcasts.Is it too risky to be playful at work? This month I’m talking to Zaid Ansari. I had the pleasure of interviewing Zaid face to face at my house and early on in the recording he says that he’s at the point in his career where he only wants to do stuff that’s fun. But actually that sense of fun and playfulness feels built in to his life so far.  Zaid started off his career as an accountant at an advertising agency in London in the 1990s where he worked hard and played harder. So, a bit of a change of pace then to leave that and work for Crufts, the world-famous dog show.  Zaid then left to work in Pakistan as a go-between for the Asian Development Bank and the Pakistani government before returning to the UK and taking on numerous other roles, including starting his own construction company before winding up in his current position as a lecturer in subjects as varied as accounting, employability skills and becoming a nutritional professional.So, the usual mix of apparently unrelated eclectic career choices for a Serendipity Soup guest, but as always there’s a golden thread. In Zaid’s case I would suggest it’s his playfulness and his love of interacting with people. When Zaid left after our recording, I watched him walk down the street and felt like my life was much fuller, richer and more joyful for having met him. And that wasn’t just because he’d brought a bottle of wine for me and my wife and some chocolates for our kids. I hope you’ll feel the same way once you’ve heard him tell his story.Only a couple of links for this episode. Here they are:‘Achieve Your Potential with Positive Psychology’ by Tim Lebon - -
  • 14. Oliver Dudley

    Welcome to Serendipity Soup! The antidote to celebrity success podcasts. What can we learn from extremes? This month I’m talking to Oliver Dudley who has experienced probably the most extreme career I’ve covered to date in terms of its highs and lows. He’s a property developer who lost 95% of his wealth during the 2008 financial crash but has – if you’ll forgive the pun – rebuilt his company from the ground up. He’s an amateur sportsman who rowed across the Atlantic despite a deep-seated terror of cold water. And he’s a motivational speaker who coached the world’s number one croquet player. As will become clear during the interview, I have no desire to emulate Oliver’s amazing physical feats, but I really want to understand what drives someone to constantly push themselves to try something different: to fail over and over and keep going. Because that’s ultimately what Oliver’s story is about. As he says himself, his is a career “riddled with failure”. His honesty is intense, refreshing and inspiring.There’s plenty more to Oliver’s story and you can find links to some of the things he and I talk about below:‘Through Hell and High Water’, the documentary covering James Cracknell and Ben Fogle’s Atlantic row in 2006: I haven’t been able to find a link to the Surrey Advertiser article Oliver refers to or the ‘Ocean’s 14’ documentary, but there’s a little bit about his record-breaking row here: and here: also made the news on another rowing expedition, when he and his teammates broke off their record attempt to help a pilot who had downed his plane in the Irish Sea: Ward “the human horse whisperer”: Bamford:‘Race To Dakar’ by Charley Boorman:’s company, In5 Group:
  • 13. Khrish Preston

    Welcome to Serendipity Soup! The antidote to celebrity success podcasts.Is this a make-or-break year for you? The pandemic and – in the UK at least – the huge rise in the cost of living has put a lot of people under severe pressure. It’s also making it tough to run a small business. And that’s where my guest for this special bonus edition of Serendipity Soup, Khrish Preston, finds herself. I interviewed Khrish in September 2021 after we met at a campsite in Somerset. Don’t know if any of you suddenly discovered the joys of enforced camping holidays during Covid times? Anyway, she is an amazing chef and businesswoman, please do check out her YouTube channel and website in the links below to see some of her delicious recipes and more of what she’s up to. But she started her career as a conservation biologist, tracking wolves, tigers, gorillas and any other creature that made its home in remote and dangerous places. Then she switched to become a civil servant working in London, because why not? Then she switched again, moved to the West of England and set up her own restaurant, just as the pandemic hit.  There’s plenty more to Khrish’s story and you can find links to some of the things she and I talk about below:Khrish’s website:’s YouTube channel: Wood Camping where Khrish and I met – well worth a stay! At Work: lion conservation project: